At a hypersonic rate, the holiday season has come to an end. For those of us who were at work right through the holiday period, it is not much of a train smash, we are already in work mode. I can almost imagine what it feels like for those who are back after taking a break with loved ones, some who have since returned to the Diaspora, it must be the typical anti-climax.
brand savvy with Stha Magida
Whatever the case, life must continue and brands must be birthed, nurtured and improved if 2017 is going to be a successful year. Not that I am prophetic but my take is that the year will not necessarily be easy for Zimbabweans. New coping strategies will have to be put in place to ensure that the brands survive. Not being much of an economist, but having gone through the paces before, I think the money issues will strain the economy and most brands will be affected big time.
The one brand that seems to have already taken the knock as a result of the current monetary issues would seem to be the ZB Bank brand. I was greatly disturbed to learn that the bank had communicated to some service providers that their bank would not be available on the online platform. I do not do any business with ZB Bank but a friend got so stranded in the days before the holidays and I advanced him a soft loan on the understanding that he would pay my Dstv account when it fell due as one of the ways to reimburse me part of the money. Sadly, this could not be done, causing both my friend and I some discomfort. It is my take that the banks should set up alternative means for their clients to access their funds if they cannot provide cash. It is unfair not to be able to transact on the online platform and also face challenges in obtaining the actual cash. I did not hesitate to advise my friend to change banks. While it is not easy for all banks, some are at least making an effort to ensure that their clients have an alternative on the online platform.
Still on the subject of banks and access to funds, my sister went on holiday with her family and experienced great trauma in Malawi as she could not access cash from her Visa or MasterCard. No one had warned her of this. She just woke up to it. Why is this of relevance then to this column, one may ask? My answer is that it is most relevant. Businesses will soon be affected in the very same way, if not already. For those who obtain their raw materials from other countries, they better have alternative forms of payment. I have the ugly feeling that online payments will soon be very difficult as well. I am honestly pleasantly surprised that we still have fuel in filling stations. I did not expect us to be so lucky, but I would not relax too much.
If by now a business cannot take online payments, they are well on their way to losing significant numbers of their loyal clients. No one is prepared to stand in a queue at a bank indefinitely just to pay for a service. Savvy marketers will avail point of sale (POS) machines to their clients.
This is a strategy that I think schools should also consider seriously if they have not already done so, as I can already imagine the chaos in the banks with parents and guardians trying to queue to pay fees. I hope that getting these POS machines is not another bottleneck as this would not be an ideal situation at all. All stakeholders should do their part in ensuring that they help ease the congestion in the banks.
It is my hope that all strategies are now in place and that business will be up and running and taking on the new year with great momentum and brand new zeal. It is also my hope that savvy businesses will continue to ensure that their number one resource, the human resource, is properly motivated to continue running with the vision of the company. It is not only the financial aspect that is a motivator as there are other means to motivate the workforce. It will be unwise to keep a workforce in the office when their children are not properly catered for in respect of school requirements. Given the long queues in accessing funds, the employer may have to consider allowing their employees time to go and access funds.
Last but not least, I wish all readers a fruitful, healthy and savvy 2017. Till next week, keep reading and remain Brand Savvy.
Stha Magida is happy to share your thoughts and comments. She is contactable on email@example.com